Students urged to vote in U-Pass referendum

Price of U-Pass to increase to $38 per month over three years

Courtesy of Kai Jacobsen / The Ubyssey

Courtesy of Kai Jacobsen / The Ubyssey

The current U-Pass contract expires in March, and eleven eligible post-secondary institutions will vote to decide whether they should keep the U-Pass, with an increase in cost, for three more years.

The universal transit pass, introduced at BCIT three years ago, permits its users to use public transit in all three fare zones in Metro Vancouver and get a discount for the West Coast Express, a weekday commuter rail service between downtown Vancouver and Mission.

According to the information on British Columbia Institute of Technology Student Association (BCITSA) and TransLink websites, the revised program will be in effect from April 2013 to April 2016, and will adjust U-Pass rates yearly in accordance with TransLink fare changes.

The proposed monthly U-Pass rates are: $35 from May 2013 to April 2014, $36.75 from May 2014 to April 2015 and $38 from May 2015 to April 2016.

Students at BCIT can have their say in the U-Pass referendum from February 19 to 26. Voting dates were initially from February 15 to 22, but due to technical difficulties, about 400-450 votes went uncounted. If you voted on Friday, February 15, make sure you re-vote online or in the Great Hall.[pullquote]If you voted on Friday, February 15, make sure you re-vote online or in the Great Hall.[/pullquote]

Mike Hanson, vice president-external of the BCITSA, said that although voter turnout for the U-Pass referendum in 2011 was over forty per cent, the organization hopes to increase the numbers by focusing on student awareness.

“[BCITSA is] taking the neutral position, so we don’t necessarily care whether it [U-Pass] passes or if it fails,” Hanson told The Link, “but we want the maximum number of potential people to vote.”

The student association will run an awareness campaign to include the majority of eligible voters, including other BCIT campuses.

“We are going to try to increase awareness [for the referendum] at our satellite campuses, so the Aerospace campus, the Marine campus, and downtown,” Hanson said. “We are going to send people out there to talk to students, and put up posters around campus.”

According to Hanson, even some of the students who are currently taking courses at high school locations throughout the Lower Mainland can vote in the U-Pass referendum.

As stated on the BCIT website, students are allowed to vote if they are: full-time students of a program in Metro Vancouver who are assessed with the Student Association Fee; are registered into a minimum of 3.0 credits; or whose tuition exceeds $151 per month of study. [hr]

Post a Comment